Claressa Shields To Headline ShoBox Card

Claressa Shields, the only American boxer, either male or female, to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals, will cross another barrier on March 10 when she becomes the first woman to headline a card on premium cable.

Shields (1-0) will face Szilvia Szabados (15-8, 6 KOs) in the main event of Showtime’s ShoBox series at the MGM Grand Detroit Event Center in Detroit.

Though she will be favored, Shields isn’t being given a walkover in her main event debut. Szabados fought for the WBC super middleweight title on July 7, 2015, losing a unanimous decision to Nikki Adler in Germany.

The bout, which will be six, two-minute rounds, is yet another milestone for Shields, whose goal long has been to erase any negative perception that exists about women in boxing.

“Women haven’t been given the opportunity,” Shields told Yahoo Sports. “This is a big opportunity to be on TV and give the fans the chance to see us and cling to us and like the way we fight. This is big.”

Shields, who reunited with long-time coach Jason Crutchfield, who led her to her first gold medal in 2012, said that instead of feeling pressure, she is “blessed to carry the torch” for women’s boxing.

The Szabados fight will be at 160 pounds, but Shields said one of her goals is to held the WBC title at super welterweight, middleweight and super middleweight.

Her co-manager, Mark Taffet, has already had preliminary talks with the management team of WBC women’s middleweight champion Christina Hammer of Germany about a fight between the two. Shields said she hopes she can fight for the middleweight belt by the end of the year.

Taffet told Yahoo Sports that he spoke with Hammer’s management about Shields fighting on a Hammer card in Germany and then for Hammer to fight on a Shields card in the U.S., before a potential championship bout between the two.

But she needs to get past Szabados first before worrying about anything else.

“She is a decent fighter,” Shields said. “She has a lot of heart and likes to come forward. She’s not fast like me, and she’s not strong like me, but I’ve heard she’ll bring the fight to me and that she’s a smart fighter, inside and outside. I don’t know what her plan for me might be, but I don’t think she can keep up with me.”

The Shields-Szabados fight will be the second televised women’s bout on Showtime this year. In January, Amanda Serrano successfully defended her WBO super bantamweight title against Yazmin Rivas.

Though Szabados is the more experienced pro, she understands that Shields is the star of the March 10 show and said the opportunity is a significant one.

“Fighters always say their next fight is the most important one of their career, but you get an opportunity like this, and it really is,” Szabados said in a statement. “This is an unbelievable dream. I am very happy to be receiving this opportunity. I know this fight is important for Claressa also, and I don’t really know what will happen in the ring. We both want to win. Claressa has more amateur experience, but I have more experience as a professional. It’s going to be an exciting night.”

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